Friday, October 10, 2008

Republican Anger

Here's the latest silliness among the reality based community. From Devilstower at Daily Kos:

There's something happening here, and what it is, is all too clear. McCain - Palin rallies over the last few days have disintegrated into festivals of hate, and the two candidates at the center of this are encouraging it.


McCain and Palin are soaking in the crowd's anger, amplifying it, and feeding it back.


The language McCain and Palin are using: "radical," "palling around with terrorists," "willing co-conspirators" is growing more heated by the day. It's language that's compounded by the "dangerous" commercials McCain is running across the country. It's the kind of language that you use in describing an enemy in wartime. It's the kind of language that not only excuses violence, but encourages it. More and more it sounds as if McCain has inhaled the ghost of Joseph McCarthy and is exhaling the fevered rancor of Charles Coughlin.


Whatever it is, it's ugly. And getting uglier. Any decent candidate -- any decent human being -- would be working now to tamp down that ire, not raise it.

Hunter at Daily Kos then takes up the theme, speculating that McCain is losing his sanity.

I'm honestly beginning to think that McCain is... unhinged. Not by a lot, but by enough. ...I can't help but look at the McCain/Palin campaign's sudden, apparently random focus on Obama and Ayers -- in the middle of a complete economic meltdown, no less -- and think, what the hell?


I also think you have to be more than a little nuts -- or at least very, very bitter -- to be egging on crowds to the extent that both Palin and McCain have been. The last week has seen Republican rallies turn into screaming hate-fests, celebrations of the notion that the other candidate is a terrorist, or is anti-American, or is a danger to the nation or the like: stuff that the Secret Service really, really dislikes, and would generally put a stop to if it wasn't their own damn charges leading the rhetoric. From Palin, I'd expect it. She's proven herself at this point to be dumb as a f--king rock, and has a history of being bitterly, viciously mean in service of whatever it is she wants. She probably thinks the rallies are a hoot.

By the time Kagro X throws in his (or her) two cents, the Kossacks are hallucinating "incitements to domestic terrorism."

It's clearly the right thing to do to demand that John McCain and Sarah Palin's sick incitements to domestic terrorism must stop.

But it's not going to. This is how they do things. When Republicans are in power, as they are now, they use the mechanisms of government to do their political violence to the constitutional order, as they've done by "normalizing" the existence of the surveillance state, of secret government, and even of nationalization of entire economic sectors.

It's when Republicans fall out of power, or fear falling out of power, that the violence they do to what used to be our system of government threatens to turn physical. And it's the fear of being overwhelmingly rejected at the ballot box that's bringing it out in them now.

It's no coincidence that the traditional media is noticing a disturbing uptick in violent rhetoric at McCain/Palin events, both inside and out, and from both the candidates and the crowds. It had to happen. Sarah Palin's entire political career is steeped in the same wingnut "black helicopter" militia insanity that manifested itself in the Oklahoma City massacre and other infamous explosions of blood-spattered, far-right paranoia like Ruby Ridge and Waco. Wading in up to their hips right at the peak of it all, though admittedly at the far-flung fringes of it all, were Sarah Palin and the man whose bizarre personal vendettas she lives to prosecute: Todd Palin.

The madness inspires Andrew Sullivan to a stirring post that needs to be set to music by Wagner.

The McCain-Rove fusion ticket has spent seven days spewing 100 percent negative advertizing, roiling angry mobs, deploying Palin to call Obama a traitor and a terrorist, pushing Fox News propaganda - and they have indeed succeeded in capping Obama's national rise at just under 50 percent. But McCain's numbers keep sliding and are lower on Friday than they were on Monday: 41.8 percent on Pollster; 42.9 on RCP; and a projection of 347 electoral votes on 538. Can you lose an election and your soul? McCain is testing the premise. It's a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions - because McCain did it to himself.

Angry Republicans! Is it the end of freedom in America?

Leftists have antennae finely attuned to catch any whiff of negative emotion on the right. It sets them apondering strenuously, as we saw above. But to the constant barrage of anger, hatred and fear from the left for Chimpy McBushnazi, they can't be bothered even to yawn.

Need I remind the reader what we have seen on the left for the last eight years? Calls for Bush and Cheney to be tried as war criminals? Accusations of genocide? Calling Republicans Nazis? The hatred and anger on the left has been unrelenting. Michelle Malkin wrote a book about it called Unhinged. Unlike the angry Republicans, when leftists get angry, some of them do commit violence.

I'm angry myself because I have a lot of questions about Barack Obama that I would like answered, but the MSM have decided not to press Obama to answer any questions that might embarrass him. It's outrageous how the media are coddling and boosting Obama.

I'm not sure if the Kossacks (and the very strange Andrew Sullivan) honestly fear that the angry Republicans are a danger to become violent mobs. I picture in my imagination a bunch of country club Republicans throwing trash cans through the window of a Starbucks, then texting their broker to see if their Starbucks stock is still okay. Yes, a Republican mob is something to fear.

I suspect that what they really fear is that McCain will use this emotion to motivate Republicans to vote. And fear this they should, for attacking the other party is all that either major party has in our time. Fear, anger and hatred of the other party is the way both parties rouse their base because neither party has anything positive to offer America. We live in a welfare state in which two gangs -- Democrats and Republicans -- fight over power so that they can control who gets to dole out the loot to pressure groups in hopes that the money will buy more votes in the future.

Every two years we see this spectacle of these two gangs reviling one another, hoping to make voters fear and loathe the other side more than they fear their side. Sometimes the attacks are true, sometimes they are not. Sometimes the emotions are rational, sometimes they are not. Each party's base buys into the attacks from their gang; the independents, who have no emotional attachment to either party, tend to be disgusted by the negativity.

If a party stood for liberty and individual rights, then perhaps it could motivate voters to vote for them out of admiration for their values, not just fear and loathing of the other gang. Such a party does not exist in America.

"It's earlier than you think." --Ayn Rand, 1964


Mike said...

The shame of this from McCain's perspective is that he is going to lose this election by failing to dance with the one that brung him. He climbed the political ladder based on bipartisan collusion, "maverick" media savvy, and a refusal to descend into the muck. The latter cost him the nomination in 2000, because Bush had no such reservations and promptly slaughtered the McCain candidacy with political attacks. But the damage from Bush was short-lived; as recently as 2004 when McCain's senate seat was last up for grabs, I remember reading in a DEMOCRAT blog's election projections that "McCain's seat is the safest Republican seat in this election. McCain has popularity across the political spectrum unrivaled by his peers. He is unbeatable." Quite a descent from those lofty heights to what we're seeing now. When McCain is kicking back in Sedona in January with a bottle of Jack and a long-awaited evening of solitude, he will reflect on his election loss and lament the fact that he abandoned his tried-and-true game plan and instead turned to the attacking tactics that Bush used against him eight years ago.

Myrhaf said...

If McCain loses -- and I'm not convinced he will, although it looks probable -- he will regain his popularity among the media the moment he defies the Republicans on an issue.

It's hard to see how a candidate can resist negative attacks since they work. If they didn't work, we wouldn't see them every election. Perhaps McCain should have stayed on the high road, assuming he already had his base, and focused on independents. But did he have his base? And are independents really not moved by negative ads?

I read a piece recently on the Ford campaign in 1976. In the summer Ford was 33% behind Carter. He ran a campaign featuring people on the street asking questions about Carter. Who really is Jimmy Carter? Can I trust him? He seems a little phony. On and on. By election day Ford was one point behind and he lost in a squeaker by planting doubt in the voters' mind about Carter. McCain is trying to do the same thing. I would not count him out yet.

Myrhaf said...

That should read 33 points, not 33%.

Andrew Dalton said...

From Sullivan: "spewing 100 percent negative advertizing"

Grrr. He should know that the American -ize spelling is not used when the -ise is part of the main verb stem (surmise, surprise, compromise, advertise, etc.).

madmax said...

"It's earlier than you think." --Ayn Rand, 1964

That was almost a half century ago and its still early. Have we even made a dent yet?

mtnrunner2 said...

Kagro X:
>This is how they do things. When Republicans are in power, as they are now, they use the mechanisms of government to do their political violence to the constitutional order [yadda yadda yadda]

Gus Van Horn is right, you do have an iron stomach, if you can read DailyKos for more than 5 seconds.

Like Democrats aren't going to get into power and use the government to expand their socialism lite agenda. Please. Don't dare cast the first stone, Kossacks, your people are no better!

>That was almost a half century ago and its still early. Have we even made a dent yet?

A bit, but I think the best is yet to come. There is comparatively more cultural activism recently, spearheaded by The Ayn Rand Institute, and aided by grass roots activism by Objectivists.

Mike said...

The Washington Post today ran a column titled "The End of American Capitalism?" The thing that struck me about the absolutely wrong-headed evaluation of the economic collapse in that column was that it was actually impossible to tell whether the writer was just a useful idiot for the socialist left or whether the writer knew full well what he was doing and knew that the only way to defeat capitalism, as Rand put it, was to chain it down and then blame free markets for the resultant turmoil. The Kossacks I'd credit as being useful idiots... nobody who is "in" on the leftist scheme will be given an unfiltered conduit to the world. Too much chance of a loose cannon moving off the message. But the newspaper columnists, who presumably bring more competent writing and analysis to the table? Ellsworth Toohey would be proud, I suppose.